Hong Kong replaces BBC with Chinese state radio

Authorities in Hong Kong on Tuesday replaced a 24-hours BBC World Service radio channel, that has been running for 39 years, with China National Radio’s Mandarin-language broadcast.

An online petition against the move initiated by Alex Hofford, a Hong Kong-based British activist, has already garnered around 1,000 signatures and warns that the move will make Hong Kong, which touts itself as an international city, appear “more parochial and inward-looking”, reports Efe news.

“We are not against the service provided by China National News. We just don’t want Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) to broadcast China National News at the expense of the BBC programming which many Hong Kong people rely on for news from far flung places,” the petition said.

The restructuring of Hong Kong’s public network include pushing off-air six low-popularity channels and reducing the airtime of BBC World Service — that has been broadcasting in the city since 1978 — by 12 hours and moving it down to a night slot from Tuesday onward.

The scrapping of the BBC world service broadcast, which provides global news and informative analyses, is being seen as an effort to curtail press freedom in Hong Kong and an indication of the gradual penetration of Chinese state media into the former British colony, where the dominant language, Cantonese, is being replaced gradually by Mandarin, the official language of China.

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